How well does within-individual variation in self-efficacy beliefs predict smoking behaviour?

  • N. Schuez
  • L. Brinken
  • U. Scholz
  • M. Frandsen
  • S.G. Ferguson
  • B. Schuez


Background: Momentary health cognitions may be better suited to predict everyday behaviour than once-off assessments of cognitions. This study investigates the impact of within-individual variation in momentary self-efficacy on smoking behaviour. Methods: Two Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) studies assessed smokers’ self-efficacy to reduce smoking on a daily (Study 1: n = 62, 1,465 participant days of observation) and moment-by-moment (Study 2: n = 33, 528 participant days of observation) level. In Study 1, within-individual deviation from the individual’s overall mean in self-efficacy to cut down the number of cigarettes is used to predict the number of cigarettes smoked each day. In Study 2, within-individual deviation from the individual’s daily self-efficacy score is used to predict the amount of time that passes until the next cigarette. Expected results: It is expected that in addition to the level, variation in self-efficacy will predict the number of cigarettes smoked (Study 1) and time to the next cigarette (Study 2). We expect that on days with higher than usual self-efficacy, less cigarettes will be smoked (Study 1) and that time until next cigarette will be longer (Study 2). Current stage of work: Data collection is finished and analyses have commenced. Discussion: If not only the level of self-efficacy across the time of study, but also the individual deviations from the persons’ mean scores contribute to explaining daily smoking behavior, this should call for more research focusing not only on interindividual differences, but also on intraindividual associations between self-efficacy and smoking behavior in daily life.
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